happy-birthday-to-me

My birthday was last week. Are you surprised? Did you miss it due to other major historical events? If you weren’t aware that’s shocking, but it was my birthday last week. Now, when I say last week, I mean week. You see I tend to drag out my birthday celebrations for much longer than just a day. I will drag them out as long as possible. This blog post speaks to my attempt to extend the celebration.

I like my birthday. Go ahead and judge me, say that’s prideful, call me a princess; I’m just being honest. It feels good to be celebrated. I love the delight of guilt free desserts such as… birthday cake. My man knows this about me and has gifted me with some HUGE birthday cakes over the years. He can’t quite remember the difference between a sheet cake that would feed 100, verses a quarter sheet cake that would feed 15. There is a difference and it inevitably reveals itself on my waistline, but it’s just one of many things I love about him. Also defining birthday celebrations are the presents, dinners out, and intentional times to gather together with family and friends. I absolutely love it all!

Growing up, I had a 45 record (for the younger folk, kinda like the CD of the 70’s). This particular 45 played a birthday song including my name as a lyric. Pretty sure I played that baby on days other than my birthday! In fact, my parents still call on my birthday and sing me the song from that 45. There were also Holly Hobbie cakes that were bakery beauties and homemade cakes that, although delicious, lacked visual delight. There were family parties as well as friend parties; some standing out more than others.

My 13th birthday marked my first boy/ girl party and included renting a VCR along with the movie Karate Kid from the local gas station.

“It’s Alli…with an “I.” I’m Daniel…with a “D”
“Wax on, wax off”
“Sweep the leg!”
…I digress.

Of course, there was the infamous 16th birthday party, that was nothing less than awkward when my ex-boyfriend showed up with a dozen red roses, only to discover that in just one short week since our break up I had moved on to someone else. Are you judging me again? Come on, seriously. I had to have a date for my 16th birthday party!

I could continue to relive many other birthday memories, but for your benefit I will make a giant leap to my 40th birthday. Along with 4 of my dearest girlfriends and I took a 4-day trip to and all-inclusive resort in Cancun to mark my big birthday milestone. It was truly one of the best birthdays of my life! Each night was marked with a spectacular dinner, followed with girlfriends dancing the night away free from the typical demands of our mama worlds. Our dinners would be accompanied by “happy birthday” wishes and song, with a special birthday dessert to top off the meal.

Being a slower time of year the resort was lightly occupied, and our little party of 5 became easily identified by a good majority of the guests. Among those guests were Giovanni and Jenny; a couple in their mid 70’s made up of a gregarious husband, and a less than gregarious wife. Jenny typically had her nose in a book, and Giovanni a story or joke to share with anyone willing to listen. Due to her level of disinterest, it appeared that over their years Jenny might have heard all of Giovanni’s stories and jokes. Giovanni and Jenny had been vacationing in Cancun for the last 22 years.

It was midnight on my actual birthday; my girlfriends and I were on the dance floor, ringing in the next decade of my life to none other than “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”; thus characterizing a true moms gone wild event for the ages. Giovanni had joined us out on the dance floor, but Jenny was perched at the bar with a book. Wanting to be an includer in the celebration of me, I quickly ran over to grab her, and extended the invitation to join us out on the dance floor. Not even looking up from her book, she abruptly told me “no”. Unwilling to accept the refusal, placing my hand on her shoulder, whining “pleeeease”, and reasoning that it was my birthday. It was at that point sweet Jenny had enough with the birthday girl; she looked me square in the eyes and snapped sarcastically, “It’s always your birthday!” Ouch! Jenny was a bit salty, but that didn’t put a damper on my party. A few more jams on the dance floor, and then us girls retired to our rooms, cackling about the truth of Jenny’s statement. My amazing and devoted girlfriends know this all too well, that truly it is ALWAYS MY BIRTHDAY! I tend to personify the high-maintenance, divalicious girl that can be so annoying to many. All I can say is that I am a work in progress friends, and the first step is awareness.

With all sincerity, I do realize and accept that it’s not always my birthday. Blasted! However I know there is ONE that celebrates me as if it’s always my birthday, and loves me in all my high maintenance divaliciousness. Psalm 139 tells me that He knows everything about me and “gets” me.

O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];
You understand my thought from afar.

Not only that, but He created my birthday!

For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was being formed in secret,
And intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were appointed for me,
When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape].

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand.
Psalm 139:13-18a

Beloved, you are the precious one that God celebrates. He celebrates you because He sees the whole picture of who He created you to be from the beginning to the end. You were created according to God’s great plan to redeem what had been stolen by sin. This plan of redemption is inclusive, and we are the includers. We are the invitation to the party!

Redemption is for ALL, like a birthday celebration, available 365 days a year open to all guests. It’s His birthday party and He invites us to the dance floor to celebrate with Him. Our purpose at the party is to then extend that invitation to others. We can so easily lose sight of the “Jenny’s” sitting all around us. We may carry unawareness of their presence because we’ve made the party about us and yet, there they sit. They may be crass, tired, hurting, broken, or annoyed but we who are at the party need to extend the invite.

AND…

Beyond that invitation, be a party they want to attend! This can only happen by way of our relationship with our Creator God, who will create in us a beautiful invite if we allow Him access to our heart.

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
Psalm 139:22-23

This week of Thanksgiving will present many opportunities by way of gatherings and shopping to invite others to the dance floor. I pray that you and I offer an invitation that no one can refuse!